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Nickle Arts Museum

Nickle Arts MuseumSituated on the University of Calgary's campus, the Nickle Arts Museum has become a great asset to Calgary's academic community and the general public.

The museum is named after its key contributing founder, oil explorer and entrepreneur Dr. Samuel C. Nickle. His life was richly animated by Calgary's booming oil industry, and as a gesture of giving back to the community, in 1972, he donated $1 million towards the construction of an art museum.

Dr. Nickle hoped his contribution would educationally and generally enrich the lives of students and the larger community. In essence, he wanted his legacy to provide a gain for all who interacted with it.

Snuff bottlesHis ample donation came with one condition, that the Alberta government would match it. Possibilities were not realized until the government provided the remaining $1 million in 1978. That same year, construction began and the building was completed the year after.

In the NudeThe Nickle Museum is highly regarded and is considered to be among the leading, if not the foremost, university museums in Canada. It maintains strong connections with museums around the world and has undoubtedly benefited from its historic ties with the University of Calgary's art, Greek, Latin, ancient history, and archaeology departments.

With time, the Nickle Museum has become an integral partner for a wide array of disciplines on Calgary's university campus. Over 300 courses a year make use of the gallery in some capacity, with the array of interacting disciplines including computer science and engineering. This interface is purposefully diverse, making art a relevant addition to all learning.

Featured Audio

Featured Audio

Richard Graybourne, director of the Nickle Arts Museum, speaks about it.Listen Now

Jean and Marie Erikson Collection of TextilesThe Nickle Museum staff focuses their attention on the role of educator—at the local, national and international level. The museum's purpose is to exhibit and study any information considered to be aesthetically and historically significant. With this goal in mind, provocative and riveting exhibits are not excluded if they provide an opportunity for learning.

Access to learning from the Nickle Museum is not exclusive to university students and staff. About 30 percent of its audience comes from off campus. With its goals for expansion, and its participation in the International Commons being developed to facilitate open and interdisciplinary learning, the Nickle Museum continues to challenge itself to facilitate an understanding of art for everyone, not just artists.

John Will: Ain't Paralysed YetA particularly specialized area of the Nickle Museum is its numismatic collection. That is, the collection of currencies, such as coins, from different periods and locations. This area of the museum originated from Dr. Nickle's request that numismatics be included in the Museum's collection. Other notable aspects of the collection include the recent and major acquisition of Oriental rugs, making the Nickle Art Museum's holding the largest of its type in Canada.

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